Our Book of the Week is normally chosen by our Junior Librarians, however this week I have a very special Book of the Week, which has been donated to our library. The book, Animal Alphabet, was written and illustrated by a set of Grimsdellian grandparents, Libby and Ian Butterworth, whose granddaughter, Lara, is in Year 2 and whose daughter is Mrs Kate Simon, our Head.
Animal Alphabet is a beautifully illustrated, rhyming text. It is so much more than the depiction of different animals to help cement understanding of the alphabet. Firstly, the book’s use of rhyme highlights the important role that rhyme plays in literacy development. I have written in previous newsletters about the importance of rhyme and the crucial role it plays in helping children to read. Rhyming teaches children how language works. It helps them notice and work with the sounds within words. Rhymes help children experience the rhythm of language. As they recite rhymes they learn to speak with animated voices; this is the precursor to reading with expression. When children are familiar with a rhyming book or nursery rhyme, they learn to anticipate the rhyming word. This prepares them to make predictions when they read, another important reading skill.
The book is written with humour and the open-ended nature of the text encourages the children to ask questions and explore new concepts. I have shared this book with Reception and Year 2 children this week, and the text has more than met the differing needs of these different age groups. Most importantly it is FUN! The book has also generated a waiting list …!
The book’s author, Libby Butterworth, shared with me her inspiration for Animal Alphabet:
“We came up with the idea for the Animal Alphabet over 40 years ago, when our own children were learning to read and enjoy books. I have always liked to write, especially using rhyme. Ian is a children’s book designer, who also likes to paint and draw.
We hoped to make children smile whilst learning their letters, and also wanted to make the animals behave as they do in nature.”
I am delighted to announce of very first cohort of Year 2 Junior Librarians: Mia, Charlie Gordon, Jake, Evie, Luca and Simran. I know that they will be a great asset to the library and will be instrumental in the delivery of our aim to create a love of reading within Grimsdell. I am looking forward to working with them.
Please look out for their Book of the Week choices in the Grimsdell newsletter over the coming weeks …